Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Christmas Baking Favorites

I have really been neglecting posting in December -- we have been so busy! I am having a ton of fun baking with my almost 2-year-old daughter, so I thought I would share some of the delicious recipes that we have been making.

Last year I posted our recipe for Candy Cane cookies. These are a favorite for our whole family!

I also posted about Molasses Sugar cookies last year. These bring back wonderful memories of my grandfather, who loved molasses. These are great cookies that are super chewie!

My dad's favorite Christmas cookie is Chocolate Crinkles. I have been meaning to give step by step instructions, but to save on time, I'll just post the recipe!

4 squares (4oz) unsweetened chocolate (I use Baker's)
1/2 cup shortening
3 beaten eggs
2 cups sugar
2 teasp. baking powder
2 teasp. vanilla
1/4 teasp. salt
2 cups all purpose flour
2/3 cup powdered sugar

Place chocolate and shortening in a small saucepan. Cook and stir over low heat until melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool 15 minutes. Combine eggs, sugar, baking powder, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add chocolate mixture and combine (I use my Kitchen Aid for all the mixing!). Gradually add flour, stirring until thoroughly combined. Cover (I wrap my dough in wax paper for this; it will keep overnight too); chill 2 hours or until easy to handle. Shape dough into 1 inch balls. Roll in powdered sugar. Place 2 inches apart on lightly greased cookie sheets. Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes until edges are just set. Transfer to rack to cool. This dough gets really sticky when it warms up, so it is important to work quickly.

Another fun cookie is Gingerbread Cutouts. I know there are tons of recipes out there, but I love this one. Gingerbread cookies smell so amazing!

1/2 cup shortening
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsulfered molasses
1 egg
1 Tablesp. vinegar
1 teasp. baking powder
1 teasp. ground ginger
1/2 teasp. baking soda
1/2 teasp. cinnamon
1/2 teasp. ground cloves

Beat shortening with mixer on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Add about half the flour, plus sugar, molasses, egg, vinegar, baking powder, ginger, baking soda, cinnamon, and cloves. Beat until thoroughly combined. Beat in remaining flour. Divide dough in half; cover and chill 3 hours. To make cutouts roll each half of dough to be 1/8 - 1/4 inch thick. Cut with desired cutters. Place 1 inch apart on a cookie sheet and decorate with sprinkles, etc. Bake at 375 degrees about 6 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Cool on cookie sheet 1 minute, then remove to wire rack. Makes 36-48.

A new recipe that I tried for the first time this year is for Candy Cane Biscotti. The recipe is courtesy of Annie's Eats. This biscotti is so great and very versatile...they pair perfectly with coffee, tea, or hot chocolate!

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